All hail the mighty crockpot. Within this humble appliance bounties of chilis, soups, stews, and roasts slowly cook to feed batch cookers and kitchen newbies alike. You may have already seen our roundups of great books for the air frying and instant potting contingents, so if you’re looking for your next appliance-centered boost, look no further than these fantastic crockpot cookbooks.
CROCK POT: 1001 BEST CROCK POT RECIPES OF ALL TIME BY EMMA KATIE
Let’s start with this massive collection. Emma Katie’s work is the de facto epic of crockpot cookbooks, and in a just universe would be regarded similarly to the works of Shakespeare and Homer. Katie’s recipes are concise and no-nonsense, and several of them appear per page. Anything from appetizers, soups, and sides, all the way to the main course can be found here, and in spades.
THE NEW INDIAN SLOW COOKER BY NEELA PANIZ
Paniz admits in the introduction to this cookbook that she had some skepticism about how well one could make Indian food in a slow cooker. “The slow cooker would be a new route to a crucial destination,” she writes. “I didn’t know if it could be done.” Thankfully, she pulled it off, as this cookbook is a great resource for homemade Indian cuisine. As it turns out, chutneys, curries, and dals are all achievable using your crockpot.
THE SUPER EASY VEGAN SLOW COOKER COOKBOOK: 100 EASY, HEALTHY RECIPES THAT ARE READY WHEN YOU ARE BY TONI OKAMOTO
Vegan food rules. Don’t trust anyone who tells you otherwise, even if you’re not vegan yourself. In this cookbook, Okamoto addresses two criticisms often lobbed at vegan eating: making vegan food is time consuming and expensive. Starting with vegan basics like how to perfectly cook beans, the book evolves to include more complex dishes. It is also a handy reference guide for smart choices at the grocery store and slow cooker care. The recipes it contains will certainly satisfy anyone who tries them, regardless of their meat-eating status.
THE MEAT LOVER’S SLOW COOKER COOKBOOK BY JENNIFER OLVERA
And now a counterpoint. If you’re a meat eater, this collection of slow cooker recipes is indispensable. Olvera’s tome has serious meat on its bones, offering instructions on many dishes, from stew to brisket. Whether you’re cooking beef, pork, lamb, poultry, or seafood, you’ll find something delicious here. (There’re even a few vegetable recipes!) Look, life is about balance, so I think this cookbook is a great companion to Okamoto’s vegan dishes.
THE FRENCH SLOW COOKER BY MICHELE SCICOLONE
Scicolone’s The Italian Slow Cooker and The Mediterranean Slow Cooker are two of the best crockpot cookbooks, but The French Slow Cooker is my personal favorite. Despite French cuisine’s notoriously challenging reputation, here you will find simple and accessible ways to prepare many of the cuisine’s mainstays.
FIX-IT AND FORGET-IT BAKING WITH YOUR SLOW COOKER BY PHYLLIS GOOD
Baking purists may scoff at the idea of baking in a crockpot. But for those of us not quite up to Paul Hollywood standards in the kitchen, there’s something undeniable about the idea of baking cake this easily. Good’s series of crockpot cookbooks also includes diabetic friendly recipes and a five-ingredient collection.
THE ASIAN SLOW COOKER BY KELLY KWOK
Kelly Kwok, founder of Life Made Sweeter, endeavors to empower her readers to make quality dishes Asian themselves, forsaking the old pastime of ordering takeout. Whether it’s noodles, rice, beef, chicken, or soups, Kwok provides great crockpot recipes spanning Chinese, Korean, and Thai cuisines. Note that not every recipe in this book involves a slow cooker, though the ones that don’t are single-pot meals.
50 SIMPLE SOUPS FOR THE SLOW COOKER BY LYNN ALLEY
It’s okay that winter is pretty much over. Soup is always great. Find me sipping clam chowder at the height of summer. For any time of year, this is a great collection of soups you can batch cook in your crockpot. The enchilada soup is delicious, and there are no fewer than three different ways to prepare black bean. Dive in, and bring a ladle.
THE TEX-MEX SLOW COOKER BY VIANNEY RODRIGUEZ
Tex-Mex is a singular cuisine, and Vianney Rodriguez wants to help people make it as easily as possible. This collection puts the crockpot into high gear, churning out pico de gallo, mole, tequila-spiked queso, and more. Coupled with personal anecdotes from the author about some of the dishes, this is as engaging a read as it is a useful one.
SLOW COOKER REVOLUTION BY AMERICA’S TEST KITCHEN
America’s Test Kitchen is simply delightful. Whether it’s their public access TV show, YouTube channel, or oeuvre of cookbooks, ATK is entertaining and informative for aspiring kitchen savants. In Slow Cooker Revolution, they offer their contribution to the world of crockpot cookbooks. You may use it as a guide to everything from sauces to pork loin to marmalade.
It can’t be overstated: the crockpot is a beautiful invention. By simply dropping some ingredients into it and returning a few hours later, one has an entire culinary world they can access, with little to no advanced kitchen knowledge. All hail!
I like my job as a librarian and there are a few tasks I especially love. One of them is readers’ advisory. The other, a sort of branch of readers’ advisory, is when patrons come to me and say: “There was this book I read several years ago. I don’t know the title, and I only know a little bit about it. Help?” And it’s a more common problem than you might think. One of my favorite things is finding the book in question and watching the joy and amazement come over the reader’s face. It’s at this point that, when they express their surprise that I found the book, I note that I didn’t go to library school for nothing. (Which then leads into something like, “Librarians have to get a master’s degree?” and there’s a whole thing about it—but I digress.) If you want to know a bit about how the magic happens, read on to find out how to find a book you’ve forgotten.
There are a number of strategies when it comes to how to find a book you’ve forgotten. Plenty of folks enjoy the rush as much as I do and there are online resources that will join you in your quest. Goodreads’s “What’s the Name of That Book???” group is an active and popular place to throw your enigma to the pros. You can also try Facebook’s Library Think Tank, which is a general gathering place for librarians and library staff, but accepts all library lovers and will happily pounce on such a question. Then, there’s “What’s That Book Called?” on Reddit. Finally, you could also join the top tier of Book Riot Insiders and ask on the Insiders-only forum.
If you’re intent on figuring out how to find a book you’ve forgotten yourself, though, try these strategies.
WorldCat bills itself as “the world’s largest library catalog.” Essentially, libraries give access to their catalogs to WorldCat, which then makes it searchable for anyone. Access and searching is free, and it can helpfully let you know if the book you’re seeking is available at a library local to you. With WorldCat, depending on the details you know about your book, the basic search might be enough. Chances are, this will yield too many results. This is where the filters come in handy.
If you know for sure you read the book a particular year, consider filtering out all books after that year. When someone tells me they know the book was published in, say, 2008, I usually put a buffer around it. Frequently, readers are totally sure about a thing that isn’t actually accurate. It’s easier to rule things out than imagine things into existence, so add a couple of years on either side for better searching. You can also select “Print book” to rule out other formats, since that’s most likely what you’re looking for. Use the filters to narrow your search as much as you can, but try to keep a buffer when possible.
When the filters don’t get the job done, try switching up your keywords. A decent thesaurus can help you out with that, though often, you’re better off trying to come up with your own. Book cataloging, for the most part, is done by humans—while machine learning is all well and good, it can never exactly match human thinking patterns. Related keywords rather than exact synonyms sometimes yield a better result, so even if something seems a little off the wall, give it a shot.
Another fun trick with WorldCat is using subject headings. Especially if someone has already suggested a title that isn’t your book but has similar themes or concepts, this can be a great way to narrow your search. Go to the page for the suggested title, and under the “Subjects” category, find the topic that makes the most sense for your forgotten book and click the link. This will provide you with a new search based around that subject heading. From there, you can go back and narrow again using the filters.
Essentially, your goal when searching is to boil the book down to its most essential self. If you can derive any kind of theme or subject from memories of the opening scene, for example, you’re in decent shape. Sometimes this is something you can do quickly. Other times, it takes some angling and reframing of your memory of the book. With practice, this gets more intuitive, so don’t give up! Instead, when you get stuck, take a few hours or days away from your search and come back to it with a fresh mind.
Big Book Search
For when you can only vaguely remember what the cover looks like, try Big Book Search. If you can include a keyword from the title, you’ll be more likely to find what you’re looking for. However, if you really can only remember images on the cover, you still might have luck. The website’s interface is about as basic as it gets, so if you’re someone who likes a more detailed search method, Big Book Search might not work so well for you. On the other hand, it’s one more place to try a search for that forgotten book.
Google is vast. But once in a while, it yields just what you need. I’ve typed seemingly nonsensical keyword strings into the search box and got lucky. (Pro tip: include the word “book” in your search somewhere; sometimes adding “young adult” or “juvenile” is useful, too, if your book is one of those.) I typically don’t spend a lot of time searching with Google, however. Because there are so many more results to sift through than with World Cat, it often takes more time than it’s worth.
That’s All, Folks
Because the searching process is something that isn’t an exact science, it’s impossible to put together a guaranteed-to-work step-by-step guide. It’s a fun challenge to take on now and then and practice definitely helps. You might help out some of the folks in the Goodreads group until you have your own need for that practice in the meantime.
I have a new book coming out in October. While I feel I have talked about it nonstop, I still find many people I know or who are familiar with ask me about it and are surprised to learn it’s happening so soon (the book is called Don’t Call Me Crazy: 33 Voices Start The Conversation about Mental Health and is an anthology that features essays and art about mental health). This is only made more complicated because, as someone who works in a world of books, I’m always working months ahead of time when it comes to reading. But what about when a book is coming out in a couple weeks or hit shelves in the last few days, weeks, or months? I’ve put together a handy little guide to how to support a book or favorite author.
This guide is meant as a way to spread the word about a book you love or you want to get more attention, and all of the tips are pretty easy and straightforward. Some will cost you a little bit of money while others are completely free and will cost little more than a few minutes of your time.
Whatever your investment, here are a few ways for how to support a book or favorite author.
PREORDER THE BOOK
You’ve likely seen authors talk about preordering their book. Preordering is simply placing an order for the book through your favorite retailer before the book is published. Some places guarantee that whatever the lowest price the book comes to between the time of order and publication date is the price you pay, so it doesn’t matter if you want to get it a little cheaper.
Why does preordering matter?
Books that are sold during the first week of a book’s publication show to a publisher there is interest in the title. Those preorders are counted toward first-week sales, so it can give a huge boost to a title when many orders are placed before the book’s publication date.
If there’s interest in a book and it’s shown clearly from the start, the chances of your favorite author getting another book deal increases. It’s also possible that with an increase in preorders through bookstores, more copies of that particular title or that author’s titles may be available in store. More in store placement of books means the chances of the book finding a new readership increase. As much as everyone wishes that every book were in bookstores—independent or chain—it’s simply not the case.
Many public libraries have forms either on their website or in person which allow you to recommend books for their collection. If you do a search of the library catalog and notice a new or upcoming title isn’t listed, drop a recommendation.
To make this process as seamless as possible, when you submit the request, make sure to include why. Note the author’s previous books, and include book reviews for the new title if you have them (places like Kirkus Reviews have their reviews online and often, they’re published weeks or months in advance of the book). You might also find it worthwhile to explain that you read the book and loved it and think readers who like a certain genre or similar author might, too.
There’s no guarantee the book will be purchased by the library, but it will show interest to the purchasers. This gets the book on their radars to look up. In my own experience working in libraries, so long as someone wasn’t abusing the system—requesting a ton of titles all the time, requesting their own books, etc.—I tended to purchase all books requested, since I knew they’d be borrowed by at least one person.
Cost: Nothing but a little of your time!
BORROW THE BOOK FROM YOUR LOCAL LIBRARY
One of the tools that librarians use when making purchasing decisions is the circulation records of previous titles. This is why every James Patterson book is on standing order; his books circulate very well, and thus are automatically purchased when a new book comes out.
If you love a book or an author and prefer to borrow, rather than buy, books, take the time to get it from the library. The library’s purchase and your borrowing do make a difference to an author or a book.
Although it’s not always guaranteed, if you are able to put a hold request on a book before it’s available, that might help libraries make a decision of whether or not to purchase more than a single copy. Books which are showing a lot of activity, like multiple holds on a single copy, suggest that the popularity and interest is there and the library should consider purchasing another copy or two to fulfill the interest.
You may think that not buying the book and instead relying on the library doesn’t help a book or author. But it does! Libraries make a huge difference for those books and authors.
Cost: Nothing but your time (and maybe overdue fines if you, like me, are terrible about due dates).
ATTEND AN AUTHOR’S EVENT
Is your favorite author having an event that’s easy for you to get to? Take the time and go. It’s not always easy to do, but if the means are there, take advantage. A packed audience for an event is a sign to the bookstore that there’s interest in the author—as well as similar authors—and thus, they may have the opportunity to return with future books.
It’s not always necessary to buy the book when you attend an event, though it’s always nice to purchase something when you attend an event. Buy a cup of coffee in the cafe, a cool pair of socks from their sideline items, or even a book that you’ve been meaning to buy. This is not necessary, but it is a nice thank you to the store for hosting the event.
Of course, if you can buy the author’s book, do that. Consider gifting it to a friend or family member if you don’t need it because you’ve already preordered it or because you’ve borrowed it from the library.
Also? Authors love looking at an audience of people there to hear about their work. Your presence is welcome, and know that when you talk with them afterward or ask a question during the Q&A portion of the talk, they’re so thrilled to hear from you. You are why they have the opportunity to be there, and that doesn’t get forgotten.
Authors list their events on their websites, as well as across social media. But you can also keep an eye on local bookstores for their upcoming events and attend those that sound even remotely interesting to you—you may discover a new favorite by simply taking the chance. Plus, it’s fun to get out of the house for an hour or two in the middle of the week if you can.
Cost: Whatever you choose to purchase from the event.
LEAVE REVIEWS ON CONSUMER WEBSITES
Have you seen the meme circulating about how, when a book reaches 50 reviews on Amazon, it’s included in more of their promotional materials? If not, take a peek over to the left.
It’s hard to determine if that’s true or not, but I can say from my own book writing experience that once I hit 50 reviews, I definitely saw my book popping up in more of the “You might also like” features other similar books.
If you’ve loved a book, one of the most powerful things you can do is drop a review on consumer sites like Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Chapters, Target, Walmart, and more. These reviews are super helpful for browsers considering a purchase, and even something as simple and straightforward as “This book was excellent, and I would recommend it for people who like books that are (insert genres or styles) or television shows like (name show).” If you write one review, you can copy and paste it across a couple of different sites.
One of the tips I have from doing this is to spend 10 minutes once a month drafting a few reviews of recent reads and then dropping them all at once. This makes it part of a habit, and it’s one that doesn’t require much time.
If you’re feeling really motivated, you can drop reviews on places like Goodreads or your library’s catalog, too. Those help people find a book and consider whether to buy or borrow it.
Cost: A few minutes of your time.
RECOMMEND THE BOOK ON SOCIAL MEDIA, YOUR FAVORITE BLOGS, AND TO FRIENDS IN PERSON LOOKING FOR A GOOD BOOK
Do you use social media or keep a blog? Writing about the books or authors you love or sharing short reviews and images really does make a difference. It gets the book on radars of other readers, as well as those who might not generally call themselves readers but like you and are therefore intrigued.
One of the things that’s worth doing is seeing if there’s a hashtag related to the book. Many publishers and authors choose a hashtag for the book, and if it’s not on the book itself, do a quick search to see if there’s a hashtag with the book’s title or the author’s name. When you do something on social media with the book, include those tags. It’ll help your voice be amplified and allow those who find out about the book from you an opportunity to discover more about the book.
Never overlook the power of talking about the book to people you know, too. In the course of a day or week, it’s likely that if people know you’re a reader, you’ll get asked for a good book. Here’s your chance to highlight a recent favorite title or author and spread the word.
The same principles that make consumer reviews powerful are those which make your personal recommendation in your own personal spaces powerful. Maybe even more so, since your name and face mean something to the people who care about you, and your seal of approval for something means just that much more to them (Think about it: you might peruse reviews of a place to get your car fixed for hours, but if your best friend says she loves a certain shop, you are more likely to go to that shop than the one which had 100 five-star reviews).
If writing reviews on your blog or on social media isn’t your jam, think more creatively: share quotes from the book you’ve loved or simply take a picture and share it. Maybe you’d like to connect it to a favorite TV show or song and talk about how and why they remind you of one another. Be as creative as you’d like—every voice matters in getting the word out, and sometimes, it’s those creative, clever things that can have the most power. Perhaps you won’t convince someone to buy the book for themselves, but you might convince them that it’s a book someone they know would love, ultimately leading them to gift it to someone else. That is power.
Cost: Your time!
None of these are brilliant suggestions for how to support a book or favorite author, but they’re all tried-and-true strategies. They’re real, tangible ways you as a reader and book lover can do work that makes a powerful and lasting difference.
On March 11, the White House released President Trump’s proposed fiscal year (FY) 2020 budget, titled “A Budget for a Better America”. Coming in at $4.75 trillion, it’s the largest budget ever proposed, calling for sharp cuts to domestic and social programs and increases in military spending.
For the third straight year, the Trump budget proposes permanent elimination of the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS), an independent federal agency that provides library and museum grants, policy development, and research. Defunding the IMLS would effectively end all federal funding of public libraries. The proposal would also cut funding to the Department of Education by 10%, including support for the Innovative Approaches to Literacy program.
Although Trump promised protections for social programs throughout his presidential campaign, the FY2020 budget includes steep cuts to Medicaid, Medicare, and Social Security. Despite these cuts, a $34 billion increase in Department of Defense spending (including $8.6 billion for a border wall) makes Trump’s proposed budget the highest of all time. For comparison, FY2019 federal library and IMLS funding totaled $233 million.
While the Trump administration has continuously pushed for an end to federal funding of libraries, Congress has shown bipartisan support for the IMLS during the past two years’ budget debates. In a statementfrom the American Library Association (ALA), president Loida Garcia-Febo said that Congressional support provides reason for hope. “Elected decision-makers, including appropriators in both the House and Senate, agree that funding IMLS programs such as the Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) is a sound investment and that to cut funding for libraries is to undercut opportunity for their constituents.”
Thanks to ALA and library community advocacy, library funding has remained level or increased slightly over the past two years. Garcia-Febo has promised that the ALA will continue their fight to protect libraries against Trump’s proposed budget cuts. “ALA members will continue to highlight the value of libraries to our elected leaders in every U.S. congressional district. We are confident that the 116th Congress will support the federal programs that invest in our communities.”
Learn more about the ALA’s #FundLibraries campaign or contact your members of Congress here.
Public libraries are not just places where you can borrow books for free. Nor are they merely places where you can access the internet or use a printer. They offer those services, of course. But more than that, public libraries are community spaces; spaces designed to serve a local constituency and promote a sense of sociality. They offer classes, workshops, events, story times—plentiful opportunities for strangers to meet and social interactions to occur, as well as opportunities to learn and grow. (And for babies to learn how to properly shelve books; see below).
This is one way of understanding libraries as a community space. It is perhaps the most common way, and in professional library discourse and popular media this is how the library as a community space is presented—as a kind of social hub or ‘third space’, one of those valuable and increasingly rare spaces that belong to the community where anyone can hang out for free. The books are a bonus.
There is another way of understanding libraries as a community space, however. This other way has a more academic bent to it, and draws on ideas from social history, sociology, and cultural research, and sees the library as one part of a wider form of liberal governmentality. Simply, the liberal governmentality refers to a governing authority shaping citizens so that they could be self-regulating individuals; you don’t need a government watching and telling people what to do if the people themselves knew what to do and would watch out for each other. There are various instruments and agencies that can be used for this kind of rule, organisations and people involved in this regulation of behaviour and conduct in everyday life. These include churches, lawyers, doctors, schools, and public leisure facilities like municipal swimming pools. And, of course, libraries. ‘Community’, seen through this lens, can be understood as something that a governing authority may try to use to develop social cohesiveness and a self-regulating group of citizens.
Through the liberal governmentality lens, the library can be understood as an instrument of the local municipality, particularly in its role in the community. The workshops, classes, and story times that are offered by libraries act as tools to guide and influence a population. These events allow for social interactions and potential relationships forming between neighbours, provide ways for the governing authority to connect with its constituency in a positive way, and contribute to the lifelong learning of the populace. The library is a way to gently guide a population and create a community of free, educated, self-regulating individuals.
These musings of the library as community space occupied my mind for the better part of four years as I completed my PhD. I entered libraries as a researcher, attended events and walked around the space with the critical eye of an academic. I questioned why things were the way they were, and blended what I was seeing and hearing with what I was reading in academic texts. Now it has been five years since completing the fieldwork component of my research, two years since I submitted the thesis, and one year since I graduated. I still go to the library a lot, and I will always look at a new library with the eyes of a researcher, but in my everyday life I have a new experience of the library as a community space.
In my new life as a stay-at-home mum, the library is where I go a few times a week with my baby daughter. We go there for baby story time, to borrow books, to enjoy the air conditioning, and to play with their toys and crawl around the relatively safe space. Once a week, baby story time means that someone else is entertaining my baby for half an hour. The toys they have are safe and fun and, most importantly, different to the toys that we have at home and so are therefore that much better. The children’s area is a much bigger space than our living room, so there is more room for my baby to crawl around (and thereby wear herself out).
I have also met other mums and caregivers at the library, both at story time and when we go just to hang out and play in the children’s area. It is refreshing to meet other people who can form complete sentences and have adult conversations, and sometimes if all you do is look after a baby all day, real conversations can be sorely lacking. Social interaction and being around other people is healthy and wonderful, and the library is a place where this can happen freely and openly.
The idea of ‘library as a community space’ has taken on a much more personal meaning. While I still appreciate the professional and academic perspectives of libraries as community spaces, this new way of seeing and using the library has been the most powerful. My twice-weekly trips to the library reveal to me not simply the role of the library as a community hub or a governmental instrument. This is the library as a saviour.
Honoring the finest works of translated fiction from around the world, the Man Booker International Prize has announced its 2019 longlist. The prize is awarded every year to a single book, translated into English and published in the UK and Ireland. The £50,000 prize is split between the winning author and translator.
The shortlist will be announced April 9th and the winner will be announced May 21st. Next year, the prize will be known as the International Booker Prize, as the sponsorship from the Man Group comes to an end and the prize’s new sponsor Crankstart begins funding.
Bettany Hughes, chair of the judging panel, commented on the list, stating that, ‘This was a year when writers plundered the archive, personal and political. That drive is represented in our longlist, but so too are surreal Chinese train journeys, absurdist approaches to war and suicide, and the traumas of spirit and flesh. We’re thrilled to share 13 books which enrich our idea of what fiction can do.”
This year’s list is dominated by books from small presses. There are also more women than men nominated this year, with the notable return of Olga Tokarczuk who won the award last year—the first Polish writer to win the award—for her novel Flights, translated by Jennifer Croft. This year her book Drive Your Plow Over The Bones Of The Dead, translated by Antonia Lloyd-Jones, has been nominated.
2019 Man Booker International Prize Longlist
Celestial Bodies by Jokha Alharthi (Arabic / Omani), translated by Marilyn Booth (Sandstone Press Ltd)
Love In The New Millennium by Can Xue (Chinese / Chinese), translated by Annelise Finegan Wasmoen(Yale University Press)
The Years by Annie Ernaux (French / French), translated by Alison L. Strayer (Fitzcarraldo Editions)
At Dusk by Hwang Sok-yong (Korean / Korean), translated by Sora Kim-Russell(Scribe, UK)
Jokes For The Gunmen by Mazen Maarouf (Arabic / Icelandic and Palestinian), translated by Jonathan Wright(Granta, Portobello Books)
Four Soldiers by Hubert Mingarelli (French / French), translated by Sam Taylor (Granta, Portobello Books)
The Pine Islands by Marion Poschmann (German / German), translated by Jen Calleja(Profile Books, Serpent’s Tail)
Mouthful Of Birds by Samanta Schweblin (Spanish / Argentine and Italian), translated by Megan McDowell(Oneworld)
The Faculty Of Dreams by Sara Stridsberg (Swedish / Swedish), translated by Deborah Bragan-Turner(Quercus, MacLehose Press)
Drive Your Plow Over The Bones Of The Dead by Olga Tokarczuk (Polish / Polish), translated by Antonia Lloyd-Jones (Fitzcarraldo Editions)
The Shape of the Ruins by Juan Gabriel Vásquez (Spanish / Colombian), translated by Anne McLean(Quercus, MacLehose Press)
The Death Of Murat Idrissi by Tommy Wieringa (Dutch / Dutch), translated by Sam Garrett(Scribe, UK)
The Remainder by Alia Trabucco Zeran (Spanish / Chilean and Italian), translated by Sophie Hughes (And Other Stories)
If you’re struggling to decide what to read next, or can’t join an actual book club, celebrity book clubs just might be what you’re looking for. And they’re growing in popularity. Once this was a field dominated by Oprah (the queen of celebrity book clubs), but more and more famous people are interested in telling us what to read.
Some celebrities have official book clubs you can participate in through Goodreads or Facebook, and some just post what they’re reading on Instagram. Either way, celebrity book clubs are a great source of inspiration for what to read next. I’ve rounded up some of the best actual celebrity book clubs plus bookish celebrities to follow on social.
(By the way, don’t listen to Franzen—Oprah has great taste!)
Elevating female voices is the stated goal of Reese’s Book Club x Hello Sunshine. Witherspoon announces a new pick each month and you can participate in the discussion on Facebook and Instagram, or just read along at home. Her latest pick is The Proposalby Jasmine Guillory.
Emma Watson’s feminist book club, Our Shared Shelf, has an active presence on Goodreads. Participants can discuss their reading with one another and take part in all kinds of bookish discussions. This winter, they’re reading The Things I Would Tell You: British Muslim Women Write, edited by Sabrina Mahfouz. Watson’s club seems to make a real effort to be intersectional, which is great to see.
Emma Roberts and Karah Preiss run Belletrist, a book club that also highlights independent bookstores (which is super cool). Before launching the club, Roberts got her start in the book influencing game by posting her latest reads on Instagram. Their January 2019 pick was The Dreamersby Karen Walker Thompson, the latest in a list of (I think) smart picks that showcase compelling nonfiction and buzzy fiction by women.
This is my personal favorite celebrity book club because I want to grow up to be Florence Welch. Yes, the woman behind Florence and the Machine has her own book club! It seems to have grown organically from Florence’s personal love of reading, so it’s less slickly curated than some of the other ones on this list but is not run by Florence herself (though the books are recommended by her). New recommendations are posted to Facebook and Instagram, where anyone can read along and chime in with their thoughts. The most recent picks are two poetry collections by Hera Lindsay Bird called Hera Lindsay Birdand Pamper Me to Hell & Back.
Actor and writer Felicia Day, along with Veronica Belmont, Kiala Kazebee and Bonnie Burton, runs the book club Vaginal Fantasy to discuss “romance genre books with strong female lead characters.” I’m here for a romance book club! You can join in the discussion on Goodreads, where they are currently reading Bittenby Kelley Armstrong.
Sarah Michelle Gellar
Everyone’s favorite vampire slayer posts her reads on Facebook and Twitter, usually using the hashtag #SMGbookclub. This book club isn’t as formal as the others here—it seems to be a way for SMG to share what she’s reading with her followers.
Unfortunately, the world of official celebrity book clubs is pretty white so far. But there are plenty of celebrities of color who share what they’re reading on social, so you can create your own book club by doing a read-along. Here they are!
Kaling has written two books herself, so we know she likes books…and she often shares her picks on Instagram.
Gay is one of our foremost cultural critics and essayists, in addition to being a kickass fiction writer, so you can trust her opinions. She periodically posts lists of recommended books on Medium or her Tumblr, and you can also follow her onGoodreads, where she writes detailed and thoughtful reviews of what she’s reading.